The trees outside my classroom window were in full bloom. A clear blue sky stretched overhead. Birds sang. Daffodils swayed in the breeze. Being stuck in Huntsville High School that morning was simply more than I. Could. Bear.
Spring fever and senioritis hit me full force. I felt like I had to skip school that day—otherwise I’d go crazy.
So I pressured my friend Kaye to leave campus and go to Burger King with me. She didn’t want to go, but I kept on pushing her, saying, “Stop being such a rule follower! Take a chance, live large!” (Not sure how Burger King equates with living large, but it sounded good at the time)
By the time third period was over, I had talked her into it. After the bell rang we slipped out, got in her car and exited out of the one-way entrance to avoid the parking guard at the exit. He never even saw us leave.
We ate our cheeseburgers, fries and cokes outside, fully enjoying the beautiful spring weather. Then we turned up the stereo, rolled down our windows and sang at the top of our lungs as we cruised around town until it was time for math class. It was glorious!
We snuck back into the parking lot, parked out of the guard’s line of sight, ran up to the building and just as the bell rang, we sank into our seats with a smile.
Mission accomplished . . . almost.
After math, when we went out to the parking lot, her car was missing. Totally gone. Stolen. So we went to the principal’s office. The police and Kaye’s parents came down to the school. As they questioned us, our story came out and the police determined someone had followed us back to school and hot-wired her car.
“If you girls had just done what you’re supposed to do, this wouldn’t have happened” the principal snapped. We didn’t know what to say. I felt terrible. If I hadn’t pushed Kaye, her car wouldn’t have been stolen. I didn’t mean to cause any trouble. I just wanted to have a little fun.
Kaye’s father wasn’t very happy, either. As we left the principal’s office, he said, “I’ll never buy you another car again!”
He sentenced Kaye to an entire lifetime with no car and it was all my fault. I felt ashamed. Sick with guilt. I had caused so much trouble.
Maybe you have felt the same way:
You make one little mistake and it blows up in your face.
You say the wrong thing at the worst possible time.
You just want to have a little fun, but someone gets hurt.
Eventually this will happen to us all. We’re flawed people. We make mistakes. Bad choices. Fall to peer pressure. And on that day when you’ve really blown it, you need to know one thing.
God loves you, anyway.
In fact, He is not surprised by your mistakes. Since God knows all things, He knew just what He was getting when you and I became His children. He welcomed us anyway, with open arms. And even though we are prone to wander off the right path (or campus) and make a mess, His love remains. In other words:
God doesn’t stop loving us just because we’ve blown it.
God isn’t disgusted with us because we are weak.
Even if we feel guilty or unloveable, it doesn’t change how God feels about us.
If you’ve blown it, made a mistake, or caused a lot of trouble, I’m with you! I wish my “skipping school fiasco” was the worst thing I ever did, but unfortunately, it’s not.
No matter what you or I have done, love and grace are available for us today through Jesus Christ. Put your faith in His name, admit past mistakes and accept the love and forgiveness of God. Meditate on it. Appreciate it. Rejoice in it. Then cast your burden of guilt aside and move on.
God’s love frees us from our past and to a better future. And that’s the Good News!
Paul once wrote this to encourage believers to accept God’s love and move past their guilt and it’s my prayer that these words will encourage you today:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17